Is Your Cup Half Full? How Attitude Affects Aging

So much of how we feel about ourselves and where we are in our lives has to do with our attitude.  It may take some of us longer than others to realize that by acknowledging what we have rather than what we may be lacking, we can live more fully and happily in the present.  And older adults are no exception to this philosophy, in fact science backs up the idea.  A positive outlook translates into less stress and as a result, healthier seniors.

While planning ahead and keeping well organized helps people of all ages live more productively and safely, worrying all the time about what may happen is probably more detrimental than we might think.   The power of positive thinking has a direct impact on our health and seniors who look at aging through rose-tinted glasses are often healthier than those who perceive old age in a negative light.

According to the Mayo Clinic, seniors with a positive outlook tend to get more physical activity, eat a healthier diet and have lower rates of alcohol consumption and smoking.  And a 2012 study from Yale School of Public Health discovered that older patients who held positive attitudes about aging were more likely to fully recover from disability than those with negative stereotypes.

While not everything about getting older is something to look forward to, anticipating a steady decline will certainly take you there faster.  Successful aging is achieved through regular social involvement with friends and family, staying active and finding ways to avoid stress.  Hormones released during periods of stress can help give us energy and focus when we need it most, but over time too much stress can place a burden on our health.  Chronic stress has been linked with heart disease, high blood pressure and may also increase our risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Next time life’s worries start you on a pessimistic path, try taking time for a long walk, make a lunch date with friends or try some breathing exercises.  To learn about how stress accelerates aging and for more management tips visit The American Institute of Stress at   To read more from Yale about how attitude affects aging visit: .

As Henry David Thoreau put it so succinctly;  None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.